2018-2019 Catalog 
    Apr 14, 2024  
2018-2019 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Studies (BS)

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Vision Statement

The Environmental Studies faculty of the Natural and Behavioral Sciences Division at the University of Maine at Fort Kent believe that experience-based learning, whether in the field or in the laboratory, is essential for optimal learning and for career preparation. The faculty asserts that scientific literacy, defined as proficiency in critical thinking, logical reasoning, and communication pertaining to the sciences, is an essential ability that we must foster in our graduates so that they can respond to environmental challenges. Our liberal arts degree provides an interdisciplinary grounding in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, with an emphasis on experiential learning. This broad background preparation, combined with the training in critical analysis that permeates our curriculum, prepares our Environmental Studies graduates to address local, regional, and global environmental issues.

Mission Statement

Students in the Environmental Studies Program at UMFK develop a broad knowledge of the natural and social sciences, with a focus on an aspect of environmental studies that is of personal interest. Students learn to identify environmental issues, collect and interpret data, explore creative solutions, and communicate their findings. Students work with an interdisciplinary team of faculty with expertise in biology, chemistry, forestry, the social sciences, and the humanities. Small class sizes within the Environmental Studies program foster a close working relationship between faculty and students in an informal and nurturing atmosphere.

Program Description/Goals

The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies degree is an interdisciplinary academic program that combines traditional classroom learning with hands-on outdoor experience. Consonant with the location of the campus in the center of the Acadian Forest Region, the program is oriented toward environmental issues affecting rural areas, small towns, and wildlands. Students develop an understanding of the general principles of ecological systems, including components, processes, interrelationships, and of the interactions that exist between natural and cultural systems within the global environment. Students complete a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes coursework in terrestrial ecology and human-environment interactions. With close advising by a faculty mentor, each student designs and executes an in-depth laboratory or field research study in the final year of their education. Students present this capstone work in a public lecture at the end of the semester. We believe that this opportunity to practice independent research is invaluable in helping our students to be well prepared for future careers or graduate study.

Career preparation is an important goal of our program. Careers for Environmental Studies graduates focus on the use, conservation, and protection of natural resources such as water, soil, forests, wildlife, and wilderness. Potential employers include resource management organizations, regulatory and enforcement agencies, municipal groups involved in community planning and public relations, nongovernmental environmental advocacy organizations, educational institutions, and private companies.

Another key goal of our program is to prepare students to be environmentally literate individuals who are committed to pursuing a sustainable natural world for the benefit of humanity and the environment. Our faculty infuse interdisciplinary liberal arts courses with exposure to environmental problems in our community. This service learning aspect of our curriculum fosters an understanding of how we impact the natural world, as well as an appreciation of our connection to nature.

All students in the Environmental Studies Program will participate in a Field Experience Program as part of their coursework. This program consists of experiential learning activities that students participate in through short field trips in the local area, as well as through multi-day expeditions to destinations across the U.S. The courses included in the Field Experience Program each have a $150 fee, which helps to cover necessary costs including travel, entrance fees, and camping. It is important that students take courses during the designated year and semester to ensure that they have the background preparation needed to benefit fully from the field-based activities.

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies Program at the University of Maine at Fort Kent will:

  1. clearly explain the general principles of ecological systems including components, processes, and interrelationships;
  2. exhibit a holistic understanding of the interactions between natural and cultural systems within the global environment;
  3. develop an ability to apply academic knowledge through independent or collaborative projects;
  4. demonstrate proficiency in the writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills needed to assess environmental issues and proposed solutions; and
  5. develop a life-long commitment to environmental stewardship.

Program Requirements

The Environmental Studies curriculum is an interdisciplinary collaboration of departments and faculty that consists of core courses and electives. To meet the needs of students with diverse backgrounds and interests, students have the opportunity to design a portion of their program around individual interests in the natural or social science aspects of environmental studies. Specific graduation requirements are as follows:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 120 acceptable semester hours of credit.
  2. Either (a) a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 on all university level work.
  3. Completion of at least 45 semester hours of upper level credit (course numbers 300 and above) in each of which a minimum grade of “C” has been earned.
  4. Completion of the General Education Requirements (see Index under “General Education Requirements ”).
  5. Completion of the Environmental Studies required courses and the Specialized Area of Study.

Environmental Studies Requirements

In addition to the General Education Requirements, students must complete the following:

Total: 74 credits

Required Support Courses

Select one of the following concentrations:

Each student will, by the end of the sophomore year, select a concentrated area of interest known as a “Concentration”. Upperlevel transfer students should select their concentration by the end of their first semester.

The Concentrations consist of a minimum of 18 credit hours of University work in the area of the student’s specialization. Students can design their own programs, or select appropriate courses from one of the following options:

Techniques for Assessment

Students are assessed in all classes using various means including written assignments, quizzes and exams, field and laboratory practical exams, comprehensive final exams in some classes, and course projects. All students must complete the Environmental Practicum (ENV 300) experience with a passing grade as well as a satisfactory evaluation letter from the project supervisor. All students must demonstrate proficiency in written and oral communication skills by satisfactory performance on the written report and public oral presentation for the capstone Senior Project. All students also complete two comprehensive exams to assess knowledge of critical content in two areas: general principles of ecological systems and interactions between natural and cultural systems within the global environment. Graduating students complete an exit survey during their last semester to reflect on their BSES program education and provide feedback about their experience. Graduates are required to complete an alumni survey to provide feedback about the quality and effectiveness of their education.

Suggested Course Sequencing

Fall Semester Freshman Year - Total 17 credits

Spring Semester Freshmen Year - Total 14 credits

Fall Semester Sophomore Year - Total 17 credits

Spring Semester Sophomore Year - Total 17 credits

Fall Semester Junior Year - Total 12 credits

Spring Semester Junior Year - Total 15 credits

Choose two of the following:

Fall Semester Senior Year - Total 13-16 credits

Spring Semester Senior Year - Total 15 credits

* Field Experience course that should be taken in the semester and year listed

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